5 tested and approved productivity tips for entrepreneurial parents
Juggling parenthood with self-employment (or any kid of employment) can be tough. Being new to self-employment and motherhood, there are some things I’ve learnt to do to make life a little easier. If you’re starting out on your own here are a few easy to implement tips.
1. Arrange childcare
When starting out on your own you may not be generating income or be profitable for a while, and so deciding when to invest in childcare can be a difficult decision. You can start by trying to work when baby is napping or playing at your feet, but that completely depends on the personality of your child. Personally, working with baby around was too difficult so having family take care of him a day or two a week was a great option for me to have. I now split childcare between family and nursery, which means I get a solid 3.5 – 4 days a week of childfree working time. Co-working spaces which combine childcare with a desk to work at are a great option too, like Cuckooznest in London or Farm Work Play in Kent.
2. Have a support network
Support networks can come in a range of guises but the networks I find most useful are those where I can talk to people going through the same challenges as me. I have (pre-baby) friends who are now parents running their own businesses and online networks like the wonderfully supportive Doing It For The Kids: Community Facebook Group full of self-employed parents. Although all entrepreneurs face similar challenges, when you’re a parent trying to balance childcare there are some unique challenges that only those in the same situation will understand.
3. Learn to switch off
When you run your own business it can be difficult to switch off, but it’s important to do so because no matter how much work you do, there will always be more! I try to set clear boundaries separating work and personal/ family time – this is especially important when you largely work from home anyway. I set aside Fridays to spend with my son so I make sure that I never arrange meetings or calls for Fridays. And if possible, try to set aside some time just for you or try to establish healthy “habits”. I try to end the day by reading something non-work related for 30 minutes before bed. Taking time away from work actually makes me feel clearer headed when I get back to working.
4. Make the best of online tools
When you have limited time to keep on top of your to-do list productivity is key! There are numerous free tools available to help keep you productive. Personal favourites are Sortd which helps to organise my emails in Gmail. Airtable is great to organise data – similar to excel but more playful. And I’ve just started using Trello to collaborate with my social media manager. Tide is another tool I use to limit banking admin. The banking app has incredibly helpful features and is really simple and straightforward to use. Transactions are auto categorised and you can set different colours for each categories. It’s always a good feeling when I login and see the bright yellow showing my clients paying me. Tide’s account reader feature also allows me to give my accountant ongoing read-only access to my transactions, so they can help whenever is necessary.
When you’re short on time, anything that automates or helps you to organise is a good idea. Sometimes there will be some initial admin time you’ll need to set them up, but it’s worth the initial investment to make the tools work for you in the long term.
Whether this is home-related or work-related, outsource what you can. There are some burdens you can do without. There are lots of options for what you might outsource whether it’s the cleaning, your business admin, your social media, your bookkeeping or anything else. I decided to outsource some of my social media because it was taking up more of my time than I liked. Any time you that you can save on tasks you can outsource will be time you can use to grow your business.
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Photo by Dakota Corbin, published on Unsplash